The calendar has turned to August, and that means that it’s time for another incarnation of the Top 25 under 25. A summer tradition here at SB Nation and the Copper and Blue, we’ll reveal one Oilers prospect a day until the end of August. The list begins today with Joseph Gambardella at number 25. Let’s see how our panel of five writers voted to get him there.
Joseph Gambardella joined the Oilers organization late in the 2016-17 season when he signed a two year deal last March. An undrafted forward, Gambardella spent a couple of years in the United States Hockey League before enrolling at UMass (NCAA) for the 2013-14 season. In his senior season, Gambardella compiled a 52 point effort (18-34-52) in 41 games. Gambardella would sign his two year deal in March of 2017 and would go on to play six games with Bakersfield, scoring three points (1-2-3) in the process.
In 2017-18, Gambardella played in 50 games and put up 19 points (13-6-19), good for seventh among Bakersfield forwards.
SHOOT THE PUCK, JOE
Joseph Gambardella has a noticeably high shooting percentage. How high is it? Pretty high, you guys. He had just thirteen goals last season, but he shot the puck only 68 times. What does it mean? It means that he’s hitting the net like Jordan Eberle did in 2011-12. 13 goals in 68 shots rounds off to a 19.1 shooting percentage. That’s very good. It’s also likely pretty lucky. Compare a 19.1% shooting percentage to Condors’ team leading scorer Josh Currie (13.7%). Like Eberle, I don’t know if a >19% shooting percentage is something Gambardella can keep doing, but if you mash that number up with the six game tryout he had with the Condors in 2016-17 (he had only seven shots in six games, extremely small sample size alert) he’s got an 18.7% shooting average over those two seasons. Incredible wave of luck? Maybe. Ride that wave as long as you can. This year I want to see more shots.
2018-19: MAKE IT OR BREAK IT
Joseph Gambardella has one more year on his deal, and he’s got to have a big year if he plan on continuing upwards within the Oilers organization. Specifically, he’s going to have to do quite a bit better than the 19 points he put up last season if he’s got his eyes on another deal. He’ll be in training camp in about a month and we’ll see how long he can hang on before getting his ticket back to Bakersfield. Can he double his point total from last season?